Sport : F1

Ferrari

27th February 2014, 08:38am

Ferrari have set one clear, unmistakable goal for 2014 - to produce a car capable of winning the World Championship again.

Armed with arguably the strongest driver pairing on the grid - with Kimi Raikkonen hired in place of Felipe Massa to form an all-champion line-up alongside Fernando Alonso - there will be considerable expectation amongst the faithful but impatient Tifosi that, at long last, the Scuderia will return to title-winning ways.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that, having failed to break Red Bull's recent stranglehold over the sport, Ferrari, still considered the first among equals of all the teams on the grid, are still yet to win any silverware since the turn of the decade.

As the only team on the grid to have a lineage right back to the very beginnings of the World Championship in 1950, Ferrari occupy a special place in the sport and are out on their own as its most successful, and famous, team.

They have a glittering record, with more Drivers' (15) and Constructors' (16) Championships, along with race victories (221), than any other marque.

Current drivers Alonso and Raikkonen follow in the wheel tracks of legendary names to have driven for the Scuderia such as Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda and, most successfully of all, Michael Schumacher.

That's not to say that Ferrari's F1 history has been one glorious, uninterrupted success story: their 'Tifosi' fans famously had to endure a 21-year wait, and some alarming slumps in form, before another drivers' title finally arrived more than two decades after Jody Scheckter's 1979 triumph.

Yet once that millstone was lifted in 2000 by the 'dream team' of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Schumacher, success continued to follow success and the team's reputation was restored to the level attained during their peak years. In more recent times, Ferrari have invariably still been in the thick of the drivers' title chase - triumphing with Raikkonen in 2007 but suffering final-race heartache with Massa in 2008 and then Alonso in 2010 and 2012 - but they have also endured widespread criticism for failing to provide innovative enough designs to take on Red Bull in a straight fight.

The 'rules revolution' introduced for 2014 thus perhaps suits Ferrari better than any other team on the grid and with Raikkonen and Alonso behind the wheel, the Scuderia can only have themselves to blame if they fail to prosper this year.

A champion team needs championships. And Italy demands nothing less.

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